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Product watch: Acclimatized chillers

Carl Kirkland

December 11, 2008

3 Min Read
Product watch: Acclimatized chillers

Environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerants reportedly are being used for the first time anywhere in the first models in a new line of portable chillers bearing the EarthSmart trademark that recently were introduced by The Conair Group Inc. (Cranberry Township, PA). R-410A is chlorine-free, so it doesn’t damage our planet’s ozone layer. It’s also nonexplosive and is said to present much lower inhalation risks to folks on the shop floor.

Unlike R-22, better known as DuPont’s Freon, R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trademarks, including Carrier Corp.’s Puron, which is the brand Conair’s using. According to the EPA, other climate-friendly substitute refrigerants include R-134a and R-407C, which are commonly used in Europe, where R-22 has already been banned.

The first models in Conair’s new EarthSmart portable chillers are air- and water-cooled units in six sizes, ranging from 1.5-15 tons. Larger and smaller units are expected to launch soon. In addition to engineering that accommodates the environmentally chummy refrigerants, the new chillers also are equipped with easier-to-use, but more powerful standard controls, and construction features rendering them more compact and durable than previous models.

“Soon, all chillers will need to use a new, nonozone-depleting refrigerant like R-410A,” says Wes Sipe, GM of the Conair Heat Transfer Group. “The U.S. government has mandated the phase-out of conventional Freon refrigerants by 2010. At that point, you won’t be able to buy chillers using the old technology, and maintaining and operating existing R-22-based chillers will become more costly. Conair is stepping up to make the transition now, because it is the right thing to do environmentally and it is best for our customers in the long term.”

Cool controls

As it was developing its new green, portable chillers, Conair’s engineers reportedly reevaluated each component and streamlined the overall design to make them robust and ergonomic, thereby redefining “sustainability.”

All models in the line will be supplied with a standard, proprietary, multifunctional microprocessor control system—for instance, one based on open-architecture software that provides both temperature control and logic capabilities—control features usually available only on high-end units. Control features include:
• Two four-digit LED displays that simultaneously show setpoint and actual readings.
• Advanced diagnostics capabilities, including a built-in alarm history, which time-stamps and saves up to 40 alarm records to ease troubleshooting.
• Temperature control points selectable either as to-process, from-process, or an average of the two.
• A hot gas bypass function that ensures precision temperature control, even when the chiller’s operating at as little as 25% of rated capacity.
• Control panel indicator lights for compressor, bypass valve, or pump activation.
• An auto-tuning capability that optimizes control settings to match the actual load on the chiller.

Built with a durable, solid steel framework, EarthSmart chillers incorporate rugged nonferrous components in all wetted areas. These components include a welded stainless-steel reservoir and pump, a brazed-plate condenser, and other stainless, brass, and copper valves and fittings.

Copeland scroll compressors, usually preferred for their reliability and their fewer moving parts, are standard, as are Sporlan refrigeration components. The chillers are factory tested under load before shipment, and they’re backed by both a 12-month parts and labor warranty (24 months on the compressor) and Conair’s exclusive 24-hour service and parts support. And they’re also available through Conair’s QuickShip program, so you can help save our ozone layer in record time.—[email protected]

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